how is my itinerary?!! 4 cities, 16 days

Jul 1st, 2014, 09:52 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2014
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I can see how my choices might seem confusing based on what I want to see.

I guess the best way to explain it is like this: on the cruise, even though we went to Florence and Rome and Istanbul, etc. I feel like I didn't actually see the cities. For example, all I saw in Rome was the Colosseum and the Basilica. I didn't actually see Rome. All I see in Istanbul was the inside of the Hagia Sofia and Blue mosque. I didn't actually see Istanbul.

So that's the reason I'm saying I don't want to see those things this time around. I want to spend more time seeing and exploring the actual cities... and if I get bored, I want to have a few daytrip options available. Does that make sense?

For example, I visit cities like Chicago, Boston and NYC often... and I don't go there to see anything in particular. I like to walk around, shop, explore new restaurants. That kind of thing. So the thing that throws me off when planning for Europe is the fact that you're always being directed to a city to see something in particular there... where my main agenda is just to see the city itself.
moosey9 is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2014, 04:58 AM
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Hi Moosey -

My impression is that you should save London for another trip. It sounds to me like you are travelers & there will be many trips & opportunities in your future.

If it were me, I would consider Paris, Amalfi Coast & one other Italian city - one connected by train for day trips - which both Rome & Florence are. Rome will give you a direct flight to Detroit & Florence will not.

People that have already put a dent in the typical sightseeing in Rome often stay in the Trastevere neighborhood on return trips to experience Rome in a way that it sounds like you're after.

OR - just stick with your original plan, there was nothing wrong with it! More moving around than some people like, but if it works for you that's all that matters. I just sense that Paris-AC-Rome (or other city with day trips) might be a better mix of what you're looking for on this trip.
limmy is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2014, 05:36 AM
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Florence not a great centre for Tuscan hillside visits. Siena, Chiusi or Pienza might be better.
bilboburgler is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2014, 05:50 AM
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I understand now. You want to walk around Rome and Florence and look at the building facades, fountains, small streets, etc.

In Rome, Trastevere is an interesting area to explore. It's unpolished and many people live here; it's full of interesting, narrow streets. I love that area.

Which basilica did you see in Rome?
adrienne is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2014, 07:22 AM
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>>I agree that learning to live like a local - rather than racing from one sight to another - is a great idea. We often find a nice cafe for a drink at 4 or 5 pm<<

I cannot think of a single "local" in Italy who does anything like this. Only tourists do this. If it is such a great idea to learn to live like a local, then learn to live like a local.

>>Is Genoa the city where I would want to stay (instead of Florence) for day trips to cinque Terre and Portofino? Would you do that instead of Florence? Or are they doable from Florence or Siena?>>

You don't want to stay in Genova, but you don't want stay in le Cinque Terre either because it is overrun with tourists and touristy ambience. If want to experience the actual life of the Italian Riviera, but still take day trips to famous places like Portofino or Le Cinque Terre, stay in Sestri Levante or Rapallo. Mix with the locals to enjoy the sweet life on the Riviera.
sandralist is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2014, 09:18 AM
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Your revised itinerary makes sense to me. A little rushed for my taste, but I'm not you.

I'd read some guidebooks before you go to decide which, if any, day trips you want to make and then arrange when you get there. Siena would be a good base for touring Tuscany, especially if you're not into museums and churches.
dwdvagamundo is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2014, 12:31 PM
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My advice is to not skimp on Rome. I was there four days and I didn't think it was nearly enough. Before I went I thought I would like Florence better because pictures I had seen of Florence were prettier. I couldn't have been more wrong! I liked Florence a lot, but it's Rome that I long to return to. I also loved Siena. I second the recommendation to base yourself there instead of Florence to see the Tuscan hill towns.
Blaise22 is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2014, 12:44 PM
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Thanks everyone! Very helpful information!

I will definitely look into the Transtevere area in Rome which sounds perfect! Also the suggestions on a better city to explore Tuesday are much appreciated.

Adrienne - YES! Exactly!! And to answer your question, we toured St. Peter's Basilica after the Coliseum and the ruins (it was a VERY long day!!). I would like to visit the Sistine chapel this time around though!
moosey9 is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2014, 12:45 PM
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Oh and still going back and forth on London or amalfi coast... lol I need to just book this thing so I can't change my mind anymore!!
moosey9 is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2014, 01:49 PM
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People direct you to certain places in Europe for specific things to see because, unlike Chicago or NY, old European cities are filled every inch with glorious works of art, churches, etc. that are one of a kind and can be seen only in that place. There is only one Sistine chapel, one statue of David, etc. and that is what many people go to Europe for. Sure Chicago and NY have some wonderful buildings and museums, but it is meager compared with Rome and some in Rome are thousands of years old, not a couple hundred. Also, something like the Pantheon is really the prototype for all domes, so the real deal rather than copies. Just to explain why people tell someone they need more time or why they direct to certain places.

That being said, it is neat to walk around and get to know a place geographically, something I did more when younger. As to Rome, it wasn't an easy city for me to love - not until fourth trip and I spent a week, at least half doing lots of walking. Now I prefer Rome to Paris and both over London.

In thinking more about what you say, another poster, can't remember the name, gave good advice a few times. She said to see the out of the way places when you had time because it is easier to visit places with big airports and major cities that you are likely to go through again.

It is easy to catch a flight to London or Paris for a week visit, not quick and easy to get to the AC.
Paris and London are both nice to visit any time of year. The AC is best in good weather.

It is easy to go through London or Paris and have a quick day or two on the way to another place. You can't do that with the AC. It is not on the way to anywhere.

So, if you are really thinking more about the AC, look at pictures, which do not do it justice, but give you an idea, and decide. Many people find it too touristy and crowded, but it is one of the most stunning coast lines in the world and Positano is like a fantasy city on a cliff, prettier than Greece - don't shoot me, but MHO.

As you questioned your plans, I thought to myself, heck yes, give up London and go to the AC, but you said you liked to walk around cities, you have not been to London and your itinerary was sensible.
However, the more you write, the more I think you would like Paris, Florence, the AC and end in Rome. If you do that, take at least five days: go to one of the islands, take a boat down the coast, see Pompeii, Amalfi, Ravello and perhaps Herculaneum. If you are brave, spend a day in one of my favorite cities: Chaotic and exciting Naples.

I like London - a lot, especially for theater, but personally would choose a few days on the AC in a skinny minute for the sheer, breathtaking beauty of it. The first time DH and I went many years ago, we started the trip to Italy there and after one day, I said, "If you can't fall in love here, you can't fall in love anywhere." We cancelled the rest of the trip and stayed 10 days on the AC. Every time we go, it is more crowded, but I still love it.

So, my new advice. Go to the AC while you are reasonably close and the weather is nice. Save London for another trip.

Are you more or less conflicted now?
Sassafrass is online now  
Jul 2nd, 2014, 02:13 PM
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moosey - having read this thread all through, i tend to agree with Sassafrass that London might be better left to another time - one where you see something of the rest of the UK as well. Mid-september would be a wonderful time to be on the AC and it'll be reasonably easy to fit into your itinerary.

London is a big and hectic place and even in the 3+ days you have allotted, you will only scratch the surface. It's also expensive.
annhig is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2014, 02:21 PM
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Sassafrass gave great advice, exactly what I was thinking, in detail.
limmy is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2014, 04:10 PM
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OMG Sassafrass!!!!!! I love you! I was nodding my head the entire time I was reading your post! Thank you!!

We officially just decided to skip London. So Paris, Florence (or nearby city), Rome and AC it is!!

I noticed you recommend to leave Rome for last... or maybe AC last and fly out of Naples? I've read a few posts on Naples that make it seem unsafe, so not sure how brave I am to go there

THANKS!!! And thanks to everyone else too, very helpful!
moosey9 is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2014, 04:30 PM
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If you are including Rome then do Rome last because you need to be in your departure city the night before you fly home. Flying from Naples will mean you have to stay the night in Naples the night before. Which isn't bad, Naples is a worthy visit - but you don't have TONS of time, so it's up to you to decide if you want to add yet another base. Another bonus is that you can get a direct flight from Rome, that's not the biggest deal to me but it might be for you.

I'm glad to hear you are into skipping London in favor of the AC on this trip, AC is beautiful in September. Truly. Yay for an awesome trip shaping up here!
limmy is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2014, 04:47 PM
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Thanks Limmy! good point, that would be yet another hotel to check in and out of. So although we would be back tracking a little to get to Rome, it'll be easier in the long run! Will look at the flights and booking now!
moosey9 is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2014, 05:16 PM
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Yep, and flying out of Rome gives you more freedom to stay in a Tuscan hill town or Siena instead of Florence if you decide. Again because of the back tracking to departure city issue. You won't "lose time" by staying in a non departure city if its sandwiched between AC & Rome. And best to take advantage of the late summer weather in the AC, giving more time for Rome to cool off by going there last.
limmy is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2014, 06:53 PM
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Your last posts seem so happy and confident, a great feeling. I am glad. Thanks.

Rome was placed last only because it seemed likely that you would depart from there and it is always good to make the departure city the last on the trip. However, if you could get a good flight from Naples, that might be better logistically. Compare times, cost and convenience of flights as well.

Rome before the AC and departing from Naples
1. Doing Rome first eliminates having one long tiring day of travel from Tuscany to the AC. It would be broken up into two shorter trips.
2. It eliminates backtracking to Rome, so saves time.
3. The Naples airport is quite small and easy to navigate. It is also right in the edge of town, so a fairly short taxi from most anyplace in Naples.
4. Depending on where you are based, you might tour Pompeii on the way into Naples.
5. Get to see a bit of Naples, chaotic and gritty, but interesting and wonderful, with good food and museums.
1. Naples seems to inspire a love it or hate it response. If you disliked it, trip would end on that note.
2. Hotel change to Naples for last night.

Rome last, departing from Rome
1. Lovely last evening walking around Rome at night.
2. Direct or cheap flight
3. No hotel change
1. All travel from Tuscany to AC in one very long day.
2. Back tracking time to Rome from AC
3. Longer trip to airport
4. Missing out on seeing Naples
Sassafrass is online now  
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